Friday, December 26, 2008

Remembering an Icon

I was shocked to hear that the legendary Eartha Kitt has passed on to the spiritual realm on Christmas Day. What a day to die!

I didn't even hear the news until after I checked the statistical data on my blog and saw that my music video selection for Eartha Kitt got A LOT of hits on Christmas day. I thought this was odd. Why was everyone Google searching Eartha Kitt? So I clicked on her name to see what Google brought up and that's when I learned the sad news.

My first thought was, "man, I'm glad that I splurged and saw her perform live when she came to Portland earlier this year!" I had debated whether or not to go. It was kind of pricey, but she was a legend and I figured that it was probably the only chance I'd get to see her (though when I flew out of Seattle to Atlanta back in July, I saw an ad that she was performing at a club in the Emerald City that month). I'm glad that I splurged and went to see Eartha Kitt perform.

I don't know much about her, other than that she might be considered a true bohemian. She seems to have come from that group of artists/writers/singers that encompassed the Beat Generation in the 1950s. My favourite writer, Jack Kerouac, wrote about falling for an African American lady in his Subterraneans novel. Though the model for the character was someone else, it could have very well been Eartha Kitt. She's the "original sex kitten", as I've read some describe her. She's most famous for the way her voice makes a vibration that sounds like a cat's purr. It's actually kind of sexy how she does it.

In terms of acting, she's best known as the Catwoman on the 1960s God-awful Batman show. The only other role I recall seeing her play was in Eddie Murphy's Boomerang, from 1992. I thought she disgraced herself in that movie and it's actually kind of embarrassing to watch her extended cameo role. Her true talent is singing and flirting. She's an excellent entertainer. She can flirt with the entire audience. Granted, her schtick can get a little campy, but what I most like about her is her courage. She was actually blacklisted in the 1960s when she criticized the Vietnam War. It effectively killed her career in the United States, but she found work in France, where many ex-patriot Americans find a welcome mat in every age.

The music video selection of her "Santa Baby" shows her at three different ages (young, middle, and recently). What's notable is that President Bush seems to be enjoying her performance. How far she's come...from having her career nearly ruined for being outspoken on a controversial war to amusing a president with his own controversial war. She's remarkable, what I can I say?

I hope that heaven rolled out the welcome mat for her arrival. She has lived a fascinating life, no doubt about it. Truly a life well lived. Her moniker was "the most exciting woman in the world." Having seen her live, I have to say that it's not an overbloated hype. Now it's heaven's turn to get excited. The legend returns for an eternal engagement!

1 comment:

Margie's Musings said...

I remember Eartha Kitt very well. She was sensational singing Santa, Baby!